RedSpeed International has been commissioned to provide six temporary digital speed enforcement cameras for the M5 motorway near Bristol, in conjunction with the Avon and Somerset Safety Camera Partnership.
The Highways Agency is planning to build new climbing lanes on the M5 motorway between junctions 19 and 20 with work commencing in October 2005. Frequent travellers on this stretch of road regularly encounter delays during peak-times. So a fourth lane has been planned for the southbound route from junction 19 and on the northbound route from junction 20, these changes should drastically reduce delays for the many commuters that use these routes on a daily basis. The contraflow system that will be in place is the largest of its kind in Europe and will be monitored 24 hours a day by six digital speed enforcement systems (SpeedCurb).
The fixed SpeedCurb enforcement systems will monitor the speed of vehicles by using piezo sensors buried in the road surface. When a vehicle exceeds the programmed speed threshold two images are captured. The first is a zoom shot highlighting the vehicles registration plate and the second, taken within 100ms, is a wide angle shot. Information is stored with the images in regards to the offence i.e date and time, offence and frame number. The system then delays (for a period relating to the vehicles speed) and captures a third frame (wide angle), which is used to provide the secondary check evidence. The images are then encrypted and transmitted using fibre optics and satellite links to the internet where they are then downloaded via ADSL lines into the violation servers ready for prosecution.
One of the main benefits of digital technology is that it allows remote communication to the site. This allows the sites to be controlled from one central location as the system automatically downloads images to the back office, meaning site visits are kept to a minimum. This limits the health and safety risk to individuals who would normally have to visit sites to change film and make setting adjustments. Using digital technology for a project of this kind and size makes obvious sense. Operators would not be putting themselves at risk by having to access the central reservations of the contraflow system to continuously change camera films.